Understanding the food people in North Carolina eat handed down from generation to generation makes sense when you understand a few basic principles
– electricity was not available out in the rural areas and/or there was no money to pay for it
– it is too warm to make ice in the winter and store it until summer, so food has to be eaten right away (or canned) or made so it won’t spoil (ie country ham)
– you had to eat only things you could grow. Trucking food in from far away was out of the question and too expensive – hence hamburgers are topped with cole slaw (cabbage grows well) and not lettuce – the summers are too hot for lettuce, which means a very short season generally requiring starting the plants in a greenhouse and transplanting. While lettuce goes bad in about 2 weeks, cabbage will can last up to 5 months
– southerners will always choose a clearly Southern product over something from the North.
Which brings us to the picture – say you like pancakes or waffles – what syrup do you put on them? Clearly not Vermont maple syrup. The state is too hot for maple trees to survive other than way up in the Western mountains, and the winter there is just too unpredictable. Just in the past few years, one guy is trying to make North Carolina maple syrup – last year he got to total production of 100 gallons.
I was shopping at Walmart [i don’t care so save your emotions on someone else] and noticed the Walmart here is carrying a lot of regional products I never would have seen in Connecticut.
So if you want syrup, what can you grow locally and doesn’t spoil – Alaga syrup hails from Montgomery Alabama. It has two main ingredients – corn syrup and cane sugar syrup. (and water). Sugar cane grows in Florida, Louisiana and Texas. (the name stands for ALabama And GeoegiA)
I haven’t opened it yet – it looks pretty intense.